Is the GOP Just Waiting for a Fresh Start?

Former President Donald Trump appears at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023.(Photo by Andrew Kelly/AFP/Getty Images.)

Now is a time of woe, not just for Never Trump conservatives, but also for the much larger group of Republicans who made peace with Trump once but dread having to do it again.

In fact, just going by my unscientific survey, the melancholy is worse for those Republicans who may have agreed with the Never Trump crowd in principle (and in private), but for pragmatic and professional reasons found it necessary to spend years eating the steaming bowl of unpalatable fare that fate had put in front of them.

But after disappointing Republican performances in 2018, 2020 and 2022, almost entirely because of Trump’s influence, a lot of these former accommodationists and transactionists have concluded—correctly—that Trump’s an albatross for the GOP.

For all the talk about how this indictment helps Trump solidify Republican support, it hurts his—and the party’s—prospects in 2024. People who voted against Trump in 2020—and against his most sycophantic disciples in 2022—are unlikely to suddenly change their minds about him because he got indicted for a scheme to pay hush money to an adult film actress. And contrary to the alternate reality peddled by Trump and his biggest fans that he is the voice of the American majority, more Americans dislike him than like him.

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